DNC: Greeley man arrested in possible Obama plot
Vail CO, Colorado
Staff and wire reports
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A Greeley man with an extensive criminal history was one of the men arrested Sunday night in the Denver area in what was originally reported as a threat to Barack Obama.
Shawn Adolf, 33, jumped from a sixth-story Glendale hotel window as police were trying to arrest him, police said. He was hospitalized and was being held on $1 million bond for outstanding warrants involving drug charges.
A senior FBI official said he had a handcuff key in one hand and a swastika ring on the other when he was arrested.
FBI spokeswoman Kathy Wright confirmed the FBI was investigating reports that another man in the incident had threatened Obama, who will be in Denver this week to accept the Democratic nomination for president. However, U.S. Attorney Troy Eid is emphasizing that there was never “credible threat” to the candidate or the Democratic National Convention.
“We’re absolutely confident there is no credible threat to the candidate, the Democratic National Convention, or the people of Colorado,” Eid said in a statement.
The action started around 1:30 a.m. Sunday when police in the eastern suburb of Aurora stopped a truck that was swerving erratically. The driver, 28-year-old Tharin Gartrell, had a suspended driver’s license, and the truck was rented in the name of another person, said Aurora police Detective Marcus Dudley.
In the truck, officers found two rifles, including one with a scope; a bulletproof vest; boxes of ammunition; walkie-talkies; and suspected narcotics, Dudley said.
Aurora police, on edge because of heightened security surrounding the Democratic convention in Denver, alerted federal authorities.
Three hours later, at 4:30 a.m. Sunday, federal agents arrested Nathan Johnson, 32, at a hotel in Denver. He was being held on drug charges, Dudley said.
A half-hour after that, Adolf jumped from the sixth-story window when authorities tried to arrest him.
Dating back to 1993 and as recently as May, Adolf has been arrested several times on investigation of burglary, drug possession and distribution, weapons violations, assault, forgery, theft, receiving stolen property, motor vehicle theft and identity theft, according to Colorado Bureau of Investigations records.
Dudley said Gartrell was being investigated for methamphetamine and firearms violations. Gartrell, who has no known address, was being held at the Arapahoe County jail on $50,000 bail on drug and weapons charges. The jail said he was due in court Thursday.
One of the men arrested told KCNC-TV, the CBS affiliate in Denver, that others involved in the case had made racist statements regarding Obama and had discussed killing Obama on the day of the speech.
When asked if he felt there was a plot to kill Obama, Johnson said, “Looking back at it, I don’t want to say yes, but I don’t want to say no.” Johnson was interviewed while being held in jail on drug charges. He said he wasn’t involved in any plot.
Three senior FBI officials said it’s unclear whether shooters could have had a clear path to hit the stage from outside the convention hall. At least two of the men may have had white supremacist ties, the officials said, adding that it was unclear whether any of them were serious about carrying out threats. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the case.
Dudley didn’t say what tied the men together but said more arrests were possible. One of the rifles was stolen, and authorities had traced it to Kansas, Dudley said.
It wasn’t known if the three men had attorneys, Dudley said.